I took psych 101 in college and learned about projection, and was intrigued by the idea, and thought I knew when I was doing it, but it was only recently that I realized that I had no idea at all.
What was amazing for me to realize recently is that basically, we live our lives through our eyes. Now while this might seem like a rather obvious statement, for me it was quite eye opening because, until recently, I really thought that we are all the same.
However, what I really didn’t realized was that the nuance was that while we are all the same, our tolerance for different things, is different.
I’ll explain. Someone told me a lie. So I called them out on their lie, and they said, “oh that’s not a lie, I didn’t want to hurt you.” Well, in my book, it was a lie. So we have different definitions of what a lie is.
The issue is that in our daily interactions with people, they tell us that they are X, Y, and Z, and then we project our own definition of these things on them. However, what we really need to do is allow them to self-define. Which means, we need to watch their words and actions and learn how they themselves define X, Y, and Z. That way, we can see if they are in sync with our own definition or if they are out of sync.
Of course, this is sometimes hard to accomplish since, different situations result in different actions, however, in life, we can only try our best, and for us that is probably to at least start to notice when we are projecting in the first place!